Q&A with Jackie of Puckhaber Decorative Antiques

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Puckhaber Decorative Antiques have been supplying us with beautiful vintage furniture for many years now so we knew to expect something pretty special when we invited them to take over our project space. We weren't wrong. Last week, Jackie and her son Martyn transformed the space into the most exquisite reading room. In between hanging paintings and positioning armchairs, we took the opportunity to quizz Jackie about the fascinating antiques trade - and those top secret buying trips! 

How did you get started in the decorative
antiques business?

Around 1984 with two toddlers to look after I decided to do a table top sale in Wivelsfield Green near Haywards Heath to get me out of the house and raise some cash. I had been interested in antiques since I was a teenager and had been collecting a few bits here and there. So with my modest collection we set of for the table top sale and managed to take £80... a lot of money in those days. I was hooked from that moment.

Describe your typical working day?

Everyday is different, that's what's great about the business! But typically we are either on buying trips in France, selling in our shop on Lillie Road in London, driving to our restorer in Hove, or delivering to The Hambledon.

What do you like most about what you do?

Buying furniture / pieces that I love and selling them to customers who appreciate them just as much as I do, if not more. It's very rewarding to see our pieces find good homes.

Are you able to give us the lowdown on your favourite market or destination to go buying?

Strictly top secret I'm afraid! But we generally find our most exciting pieces in Paris
or the South of France. France borders many countries so lots of furniture from
all over Europe turns up there. As a result we have an eclectic mix of French, Swedish, English, Italian and other European pieces.

It's a family business and you work with your son Martyn, tell us about working together and how you make your buying decisions?

Martyn and I always go buying together and we will only buy something if we both love it. It's important for us to have someone to bounce ideas off, I've got over 30 years experience in the trade and he brings a fresh eye to it. It seems to be working and although we don't agree on everything our tastes seem to compliment each other.

What has been your most exciting find to date?

There has been too many to mention but from a girly perspective it was a genuine Hermes Kelly bag that I found in a French market for 100 euros!

How has the decorative antiques trade changed over the thirty years you've been in business?

Similarly to clothes, antiques go in and out of fashion, certain pieces that I would buy 10 years ago I wouldn't be able to sell now, luckily the decorative market is still strong. We're finding that internet sales are become more prevalent so it is important for us to cover all avenues with a good website, shop space, and exhibiting.

Who or what inspires you?

It might sound like a cliche but everything inspires me. I take inspiration from my
surroundings, magazines, galleries, nature... I have always been drawn to quality whether it's furniture or clothes or anything.

If you could go back in time, when and where would you put yourself?

I don't think I would go back even if I could. I'm a 21st century girl!

What would you like to do in the future?

Simply we want to expand the Puckhaber brand as much as possible.

And finally, what trends can we expect to see coming up in decorative antiques?

A few years ago mid-century was quite hot but in a recession people want to buy investment pieces so we have seen the antiques fighting back. Also smart brown furniture is starting to swing back. We seem to sell a lot of paintings if that means anything?!


The Puckhaber & Rizzoli project runs 4 April - 31 May 2014.